6 Michigan colleges for students who want to work with weed

By Kyle Kaminski

May 13, 2024

Several colleges and universities across Michigan are preparing the next generation to cash in on cannabis.

MICHIGAN—If you couldn’t tell by all the billboards, weed is a pretty big deal in Michigan.

More than $3 billion in cannabis products were sold at nearly 800 dispensaries across the state last year—meaning Michigan now rivals California as the official weed sales capital of the country, and the demand for skilled workers in the marijuana industry is higher than ever.

Less than five years after the state’s first pot shop opened its doors, Michigan’s cannabis industry now employs more than 35,000 people statewide, according to monthly sales reports. And with more than 11,000 of those jobs added within the last year alone, opportunities for new careers in the weed business are ready for harvest—especially for those with skills.

In response to the weed boom, Michigan’s colleges and universities have also been busy planting seeds of their own to help prepare the next generation for lucrative careers in cannabis. From classes on cultivation and sales to marketing, extraction, and product development, there’s no shortage of learning opportunities across Michigan for the budding pot-repreneur.

Here are six colleges and universities that are leading the green revolution:

Northern Michigan University

6 Michigan colleges for students who want to work with weed

Courtesy/Northern Michigan University

Northern Michigan University was among the first colleges in the nation to recognize the demand for qualified technical personnel in the cannabis extraction business—and it’s still one of the only universities in the US to offer a full, four-year degree in medicinal plant chemistry.

The required courses reportedly provide “a foundation in chemistry and plant biology,” along with a capstone research experience involving experimental horticulture, all designed to “prepare its graduates for a career in the cannabis industry,” according to the university website.

Northern Michigan University also offers a broad range of 24-week certificate programs to help Michiganders launch into new cannabis careers. And because they’re entirely online, you can study when it’s convenient for you while balancing other commitments—like a full-time job.

Courses range from topics like cannabis healthcare and agriculture to the business side of weed—including cannabis product development and design. And according to the university website, all of the lesson plans were crafted in collaboration with leading industry professionals.

Pro Tip: Register this month and save $250 with the code LASTCHANCEMAY24.

Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Kalamazoo Valley Community College runs a similar slate of online cannabis-related certificate programs—including in cultivation, extraction, product development, and sales.

With online access to the lessons, students can learn on their own terms and fit the coursework into their existing schedule. Graduates will also gain access to new networking opportunities.

Kalamazoo Valley Community College also offers an array of non-credit, workforce training programs—including in culinary classes that provide lessons on cannabis-infused edibles.

Wayne State University

6 Michigan colleges for students who want to work with weed

Courtesy/Wayne State University

Wayne State University operates a 15-credit hour certificate program in cannabis chemistry for undergraduate students and alumni. It’s designed to teach the fundamentals of analytical chemistry, separation science, and lab safety to help prepare students for jobs in the cannabis testing industry—a field that’s set to see some steady growth over the next several years.

Baker College

Baker College is also working to prepare more Michiganders for careers in the marijuana business—namely through a series of new cannabis-related certificate programs for students.

In partnership with Green Flower, the 9-week programs focus on training sales associates for employment at dispensaries, as well as lessons in cannabis manufacturing and cultivation. Upon completion, graduates will also get access to Green Flower’s network of employers.

Pro Tip: Enroll online using the code BAKERFIRST and score a $150 discount.

Lake Superior State University

6 Michigan colleges for students who want to work with weed

Courtesy/Lake Superior State University

Lake Superior State University is home to a full-fledged undergraduate degree program in cannabis business. And it’s designed to fast track graduates into the industry by tailoring the basics of business management to more specific cannabis business functions and operations.

According to the university website, anyone who is seeking employment as a manager, supervisor, investor and business development leader within Michigan’s marijuana industry would benefit from enrolling in the program. Students are also encouraged to take related elective courses in cannabis production, cannabis science, and cannabis chemistry.

Lake Superior State University also offers the first degree program in the country that focuses exclusively on the quantitative analysis of cannabis-related compounds and contaminants to help steer students toward the science side of the industry—including in product safety testing.

Pro Tip: Lake Superior State University also offers certificates in cannabis production and health for those interested in learning about weed without completing a full college degree.

Mid Michigan College

Mid Michigan College offers a six-week online certificate program in medicinal cannabis that is designed to provide students with lessons in the history, culture, business, and legal side of weed—including current healthcare applications of medical cannabis and its effects.

Where’s my college?

Some of Michigan’s biggest universities—like the University of Michigan and Michigan State University—haven’t (yet) rolled out any cannabis-specific degree programs or certificates. But they do offer a few specific classes that are designed to teach students a bit about weed.

The Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University recently rolled out a new cannabis marketing course that focuses on the history of pot, ethical and responsible marketing, consumer traits, and more—all designed to help students snag a job in the weed business.

One newly added course titled “The History and Culture of Cannabis” at the University of Michigan is reportedly designed to examine marijuana’s roots in global history, the traditions of its use, and its impact on societies and culture. The College of Law at Michigan State University now has a full class dedicated specifically to teaching marijuana law and policy, and Central Michigan University also has one class dedicated to studying psychoactive drugs.

READ MORE: 4 Michigan dispensaries that deliver weed straight to your doorstep

6 Michigan colleges for students who want to work with weed

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Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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